Aikido Shugyo Dojo’s chief instructor is Gabriel DiMarco Sensei. All of the instructors at Shugyo Dojo are ranked through Aikido World Headquarters at Hombu Dojo in Tokyo and through the Canadian Aikido Federation. They have certification in basic CPR-First Aid and all have gone through a screening process to ensure the safety of all students. The instruction offered at Aikido Shugyo Dojo reflects our mission…READ MORE

Gabriel (Gabe) DiMarco, Chief Instructor/Dojo-cho

Gabriel (Gabe)DiMarco Sensei is a fourth dan black belt ranked through the Aikido World Headquarters in Tokyo and through the Canadian Aikido Federation. Gabe Sensei started Aikido training in 1992 with the founder of Aikido Shugyo Dojo, Fran Turner Sensei. He had the opportunity to meet and learn from Kanshu Suna-domari Sensei (a war-time live-in student of Morihei Ueshiba) and regularly trains with Suna-domari sensei’s long-time direct student Terumasa Hamada Sensei on his visits to Japan. His strong weapons background is a result of intensive training with Stefan Barton Sensei (Golden Triangle Aikido) and Morihiro Saito Sensei in Iwama, Japan. His aikido is also influenced by Clyde Takeguchi Sensei, Donovan Waite Sensei and Bill Collins Sensei. Gabe sensei also practices Tai Chi Chuan and Archery. Outside of the martial arts, he has a background in auto racing.

See the interview with Gabe Sensei.

Assistant Instructors

Senior students at Aikido Shugyo Dojo share the teaching responsibilities.

Chris Velakis
Fourth Degree Black Belt.
Chris started his Aikido training in 1992 of the Yoshinkan style with Mits Karasawa Sensei. In 2000, Chris studied the Fred Villari system of Kenpo Karate and Kung fu. Chris began study of the Aikikai style of Aikido with George Hewson Shihan from 2002 and became a member of Shugyo dojo in 2012. Chris enjoys training in the weapons classes.

George Chan
Third Degree Black Belt.
George started training in aikido under Cris Rusu Sensei in 1995. In 2000, George began training under Fran Turner Sensei at Aikido Shugyo dojo. Influenced by Clyde Takeguchi Sensei and Mary Heiny Sensei as well as many others, he finds aikido to be quite delightful.

Rick Shields
Second Degree Black Belt.
Rick began his aikido training in 2002 at Aikido Seishinkai with George Hewson Sensei, receiving his shodan in 2009. He joined Aikido Shugyo Dojo in 2010, earning his nidan rank in 2014. His practice and classes use basic techniques to better understand the variations and variety that stem from the basics. Rick strives to develop a more fluid but effective practice.

Donald Young
Second Degree Black Belt.
Donald started at Aikido Shugyo dojo in the fall of 2000 after trying one of the introductory classes. Two days later he signed up and has been training ever since. Donald teaches regularly and strives to foster a welcoming spirit. He also teaches weapons classes.

Ayumi Mito Takahashi
Second Degree Black Belt.
Ayumi started practicing aikido with Fran Turner sensei and Gabriel DiMarco Sensei in 2005. Her aikido is also influenced by Terumasa Hamada shihan (Aikido Shinseikai). Ayumi was involved with team sports and track & field events since she was young but found aikido relates to her daily life in a positive and effective way.

Kids Classes Instructors

Jamie Groot
Second Degree Black Belt.
Jamie began his aikido career in the spring of 2003 at Aikido Shugyo Dojo. He appreciates the non-violent nature of the art. Even after many years of practice, aikido continues to challenge him, and he sees that as a very positive thing. Jamie teaches both adults and children and he emphasizes good posture and relaxed movement.

Anita Abbasi
Second Degree Black Belt.
Anita began her aikido training in Montreal in 2007 in a dojo with hardwood floors, but truly began her aikido journey once she moved to Toronto and settled at Aikido Shugyo Dojo. Her primary instructors have been Senseis Fran Turner (retired) and Gabe DiMarco, and her aikido is also influenced by Osawa Shihan. Anita strives to marry an organic, flowing movement with a keen martial sense. Her teachings focus on building an awareness of one’s body, its connection to others and the spaces we navigate.

Lorraine Schubert
First Degree Black Belt.
Lorraine started to practice aikido in the mid-eighties at the Central YMCA. Her first and primary teacher has been Fran Turner Sensei. Teaching the Kids classes keeps her focus on the basic techniques of aikido and she loves to watch her students practice.